209-215 Dryden Road Construction Update, 04/2016

25 04 2016

The overview came as part of the Ithaca Voice roundup last week, but the number of photos that can be included is rather limited for two reasons. One, the labyrinthine picture portfolio in the Voice’s storage eats up space, and two, the general readers of the Voice mostly only care to see a couple of photos per location.

Work is well into the excavation phase of construction. The building’s basement (“lower level”) will hold a 90-space large group instruction classroom, a commons area for dining and mingling, some business offices, utilities and storage space. The large atrium area is meant to give some feeling of connectivity and openness with the upper six floors.

Side note, looks like Collegetown’s graffiti artists have had a field day with the fencing.

Because of the tight situation, construction staging is taking place on land that used to be a boarding house at 238 Linden, and into the public right of way on Linden Avenue and Dryden Road. After the building is completed in 2017, don’t be surprised if 238 receives a housing replacement consistent with CR-4 zoning.

Local businessmen John Novarr and Philip Proujansky are spearheading the project, with Cornell as sold tenant. Syracuse’s Hayner Hoyt is the general contractor.

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Cornell Veterinary School Expansion Construction Update, 3/2016

30 03 2016

A generalized summary can be found on the Voice here. The concrete frame for the Veterinary School expansion is up to the third and final floor of what will be the new Flower-Sprecher library. As build-out continues, the existing building behind (east) of the new construction will come down and be replaced with new program space; the second floor will sit above an entry court and pedestrian walkway that leads to an indoor gallery space and central courtyard. The open space on the right (south) side of the structure will be a two-story atrium space. The addition will have a glass curtain wall, and the academic spaces that face the gallery will be faced with wood panels.

Cornell and general contractor Welliver will be looking to bring the project to completion by June 2017. Weiss/Manfredi is the project architect.

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Upson Hall Construction Update, 3/2016

28 03 2016

This one’s short and sweet for the moment due to time constraints. A generalized description of the latest progress can be found on the Voice here, and Cornell’s bi-weekly progress report is here. A more thorough rundown was given in January’s update here.

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209-215 Dryden Road Construction Update, 02/2016

3 03 2016

First progress report of many. As Collegetown projects go, Novarr-Mackesey’s plan for 209-215 Dryden stands out for a number of reasons.

For one, it calls for a six-story plus basement, 76,200 SF academic/research building to be 100% occupied by Cornell University’s Executive MBA program. No residential or mixed-use to be found here, and given its primary occupancy of office workers and Executive MBA students (who tend to be older, deep-pocketed and will only be coming up from New York a few weeks of the year), not the typical Collegetown crowd either.

For two, this is one of those rare occasions where a Collegetown building under construction is not designed by local firm Jagat Sharma. ikon.5 Architects of Princeton, a John Novarr favorite, penned the steel-and-glass box with its multicolored steel mullions.

By the city’s estimate (from the Site Plan Review form), the construction itself will cost $12 million. From construction loan paperwork filed with the county in December, the total cost, including hard and soft construction costs, will be $15,912,823.33. Wells Fargo Northwest is the lender.

In September, the county approved a payment-in-lieu-of taxes (PILOT)-like tax abatement, taxing the finished building at $5.2 million plus 2% per year. The amount is still more than the ~$1 million value of the original, unimproved properties on the site, and it comes with a 50-year guarantee that Cornell won’t be able to but the property and make it tax-exempt, something that was hinted at a few times in the TCIDA application.

209-215 Dryden will host about 420 Cornell MBA students and staff when it opens in late Spring 2017, later increasing to 600 as Cornell fills out the rest of the square footage. The basement and first three floors will be dedicated classroom/academic space (including 90-person LGI classrooms), and the upper three floors will be office space. A large three-story atrium will mark the building’s primary entrance. At opening, it will be fully leased by Cornell, but only 70% occupied. Sounds like plenty of short-term flex space.

Since December, the site has been cleared of weeds and any remaining debris, and it looks like foundation prep work (excavation) might be starting on the far side of the property away from the streets. Some steel H-beams have been brought to the site, possibly for use in shoring up the site along the excavation perimeter. The H-beams are drilled or driven in at regular intervals, and hold the soil back while the foundation is excavated. A pile driver, tubular piles, an excavator, and a Dynapac compaction roller are on-site. So, the primary duties at hand appear to be excavation of the new building’s foundation, and shoring up the soil surrounding it so that the site remains stable while that work is going on.

As the signage on Novarr’s corner building suggests, Hayner Hoyt Corporation of Syracuse will be the general contractor.

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Gannett Health Center Construction Update, 1/2016

14 01 2016

Maybe it’s just the grey January skies, but the multi-colored glazing on the outside of the new Gannett Health Center is more subtle than the renders would suggest. Work is continuing on Phase I of the $55 million project, which is planning to open this summer. Once it does, Gannett’s services will shift over into the new structure, so that phase II, renovations to the original 1956 building and the 1979 addition can take place. The building project is expected to wrap up in August 2017, and a phase III focusing on the Ho Plaza entrance and landscaping will be underway from June to October of 2017, after which the project will finally be completed. The project will increase Gannett’s size from 35,000 SF to 96,000 SF.

Most of the windows have been installed, although some yellow DensGlass gypsum sheathing and metal exterior wall studs can still be seen from many angles. According to the Site Plan Review docs, the curtain wall “suggests an abstracted quilt pattern” meant to conjure up images of care-giving and recovery. Other exterior cladding materials, including a native bluestone veneer and limestone panels, have yet to be installed.

Organizations working on the design include local architecture firm Chiang | O’Brien Architects, TG Miller P.C.Engineers and Surveyors, and Ryan Briggs Structural Engineers. The Pike Company is serving as the general contractor.
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Upson Hall Construction Update, 1/2016

13 01 2016

Upson Hall’s bright turquoise walls stand out among the winter greys. Students and staff can thank (or curse) the spray-on moisture barrier for the splash of color. To see what the sheathing looks like without the barrier, photo #9 below shows a little bit of the white gypsum board in the upper left, near the southwest corner of Upson.

The unsheathed, unsprayed section on the northeast corner remains uncovered so that the new structural steel for the bump-out can be erected, while the steel for the northwest bump-out has already been assembled and installed. The plastic is still up over the exterior walls, keeping the winter winds at bay.

According to the project website, general contractor The Pike Company (Rochester office) is cutting/coring shafts through the first floor to the fifth floor, and demolition activities are underway in the basement. The shafts not only serve as ingress/egress, they’re designed to serve as social spaces and integrate the floors of the building. Utilities rough-ins, framing and drywall installation are underway on the upper three floors where interior work is further along, while work on the first and second floors won’t begin major work until August 2016. Part of the basement will be finished in the first year of construction, and the rest of the basement in the second year. Basically, half the building is still occupied at any given time during construction.

The $74.5 million dollar project is part of a larger series of renovations to the Engineering Quad that will result in $300 million in improvements over a decade. While the project will only add about 4,000 SF to the 156,000 SF building, the renovation are expected to help the engineering school adapt to changing academic space needs and technology, and make the building much more energy efficient. The college is paying for the project with a mix of philanthropy and operating funds. A full FAQ is available on Cornell Engineering’s website here.

Along with Cornell’s internal project management team, the project is designed by New York City firms LTL Architects, Perkins+Will, and Thornton Tomasetti.

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Cornell Veterinary School Expansion Construction Update, 1/2016

12 01 2016

Over at the Vet School, it looks like the expansion project is now at surface level. With the foundation completed, the only direction for the project to go is up, which the Manitowoc Potain self-erecting crane should help with. Phase I interior renovations should be completed by this time, and the Phase II new construction will be moving ahead to a June 2017 completion. Like Klarman Hall, Welliver is the general contractor of this $74.1 million construction project.

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